Schaklowiti’s Aria / Choral Finale
from the opera Chowanschtschina [Mussorgsky arrangement]
Remarks: In the year 1913, Diaghilev wanted to perform the incomplete opera Chowanschtschina by Modest Mussorgsky and commissioned Strawinsky to orchestrate the missing sections. Since Strawinsky was very busy at the time, he asked Maurice Ravel for help, so that both composers shared the work. Strawinsky worked on the orchestration in Clarens in March and April (while he was also in the middle of preparations for Le Sacre) of Schaklowiti’s aria and the choral finale amongst others, and he dedicated the choral finale to Serge Diaghilev. The performance took place on 5th June 1913 in the Parisian Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Strawinsky made very negative comments about the collaboration in later years, and compared it to Rimsky-Korsakov’ revision of Boris Godunov in the style of Meyerbeer. The St. Petersburg firm Bessel published a piano version of the choral finale in 1914 under the plate number 7396. Breitkopf & Härtel sought to gain the rights to publish the choral finale from Strawinsky in 1958 and asked for the material, which Strawinsky no longer owned, because he had given it to Bessel at the time. Strawinsky refused, giving the reason that the Rimsky-Korsakov version of the opera would be played anyway, and it would be better to stay with Rimsky-Korsakov’s version of the finale, he did not see any possibility of performance for his arrangement. From these events, we learn that he had arranged not only the choral finale, but also an aria, which had been forgotten. A fragment of the score of the aria remains in the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel, and the orchestral fragments came out of Diaghilev’s ownership via Serge Lifar to Sotheby’s in London for auction and today belong to the London Collection, Neighbour.
K Catalog: Annotated Catalog of Works and Work Editions of Igor Strawinsky till 1971, revised version 2014 and ongoing, by Helmut Kirchmeyer.
© Helmut Kirchmeyer. All rights reserved.
http://www.kcatalog.org and http://www.kcatalog.net